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September 14, 2023

The USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center released three new products documenting the catastrophic flooding which resulted from Hurricane Ida on September 1-2, 2021.  

USGS staff standing on bridge using tablet, wearing highlighter yellow rain gear, in rainy weather, fast-flowing brown river
Hydrologic Technician Ian Lynch from the Pittsburgh Field Office of the Pennsylvania Water Science Center takes a high flow measurement at USGS station 03085500, Chartiers Creek at Carnegie, PA during flooding from remnants of Hurricane Ida. 

The products include a geonarrative (Web Tool) that is an interactive online presentation of data collection efforts related to Hurricane Ida. This geonarrative includes a summary of the storm in Pennsylvania, USGS data collection methods, embedded interactive maps of flood extents in five southeastern Pennsylvania localities, and visual depictions of the storm’s impact across the state.  

Other products include a publication documenting peak flows and flood frequency information for USGS streamgages impacted by Hurricane Ida flooding. An associated data release contains GIS layers of flood extent, flood depth, and the results from flood frequency determinations.  

Hurricane Ida was a historic flooding event for the state of Pennsylvania with 5-10 inches of rain falling in a little over six hours, swelling many small creeks and several main branch rivers well above their banks. Nineteen streamgages recorded peak of record flows (highest calculated discharge during the period of record). In addition, nine Pennsylvania streamgages recorded peak streamflows with estimated recurrence intervals greater than 100 years, with three streamgages recording peaks greater than a 500-year recurrence interval.   

These data and products highlight the USGS commitment to providing critical flood science data to protect life and property, support future flood mitigation, and assist with the design and operation of hydraulic structures. The publication of these products would not be possible without the diligent field and office work performed by dozens of USGS staff and collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

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